Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Faster Debugging with CFTIMER and CFTRACE

Hidden gems

Two of the most common debugging tasks are displaying variables and identifying bottlenecks. For years I relied on CFDUMP and CFABORT to display variables and getTickCount() to calculate processing time and identify slow-running code.

Indeed these wonderful tags and functions have long been the quintessential toolkit of any ColdFusion developer.

<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
<CFDUMP var="#Email#" label="Email Address">
<CFABORT>

In the approach above I used <CFDUMP> and <CFABORT> tags to display the value of a variable. Want to display a few variables? The screen quickly becomes a rainbow of purple, green, and gray as you look for your variables. While the wonders of CFDUMP probably deserve their own article, Adobe recently introduced a powerful new tag called CFTRACE.

Introducing CFTrace
With CFTRACE, you can easily display changing variable values either inline or in the debugging section, categorize variables, and even abort execution, all in one tag.
So the good ole CFDUMP becomes:

<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
<CFTRACE var="Email" text="Email" inline="yes" abort="yes">

*Note that with CFTRACE the var attribute accepts a variable name without pound signs.

The Advantages of CFTrace
"So what" you say, "I've been using CFDUMP and CFABORT for years, why would I switch?"

Well, there are many reasons. Have you ever had to display a variable more than once? The task of identifying those values on the screen can become very cumbersome, especially if manipulated and changed multiple times.

Showing variable values at different points in a template is easy with CFTRACE. Simply add CFTRACE tags after every change and you'll see an organized list in the debugging info section at the bottom of the screen.

<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
<CFTRACE var="Email" text="Original Email">
.
.
.
<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
.
<CFTRACE var="Email" text="New Email">

Another clear advantage of CFTRACE is that it can easily be turned on and off via the ColdFusion administrator. I find it extremely useful not to constantly remove and add code during the development process just to display variables.

Simply browse the ColdFusion Administrator and go to Debugging & Logging -> Debugging Settings to turn CFTRACE on and off.

Not convinced yet? Consider the fact that CFTRACE also lets you categorize and type information as well as display the time differences between traces. CFTRACE calls are also displayed in Dreamweaver's server debug tab results window and ColdFusion logs <cftrace> calls to the {CFUSIONMX}\logs\cftrace.log.

All of the above should be enough to convince any developer to give CFTRACE a test drive. It's a hidden gem that has long been overlooked.

Measuring Processing Time with CFTIMER
Occasionally, I'll have to debug a very slow running template. In the past I had to rely on getTickCount() to find out how long it took a section of code to run.

<cfset start = GetTickCount()>
<cfloop from="1" to="100" index="i"><cfoutput>#i#</cfoutput></cfloop>
<cfset end = GetTickCount()>
<cfoutput>Loop took #end-start# ms</cfoutput>

But recently I've been using a new tag called CFTIMER. Simply wrap a section of your code with CFTIMER and, voilà, you instantly know how long it took to run that section.

<CFTIMER label="Long Loop">
<cfloop from="1" to="1000" index="i"><cfoutput>#i#</cfoutput></cfloop>
</CFTIMER>

CFTIMER lets you put the information inline (as seen in the example above) in an HTML comment, in the debugging info, or even in a nice outline as seen in the example below.

<CFTIMER label="Long Loop" type="outline">
<cfloop from="1" to="100" index="i"><cfoutput>#i#</cfoutput></cfloop>
</CFTIMER>

Using "outline" can become very useful when you have several nested sections you want to test.

Summary
CFTRACE and CFTIMER introduce new powerful debugging capabilities. These tags offer significant advantages over the previous methods and make it both easier and faster to debug code.

More Stories By Shlomy Gantz

Shlomy Gantz is the founder and president of BlueBrick, Inc., a technology management consulting firm based in New York. He has over a decade of application development experience, an extensive background in interaction design and project management, and has been building web-based solutions since 1996. Prior to founding BlueBrick, Shlomy was a senior consultant for Computer Horizons, leading large-scale projects for the airline industry. Prior to that he was co-founder and vice president of technology for CoreActive ACG., a New York–based consulting group and a premier Allaire partner.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abilit...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Michael Maximilien, better known as max or Dr. Max, is a computer scientist with IBM. At IBM Research Triangle Park, he was a principal engineer for the worldwide industry point-of-sale standard: JavaPOS. At IBM Research, some highlights include pioneering research on semantic Web services, mashups, and cloud computing, and platform-as-a-service. He joined the IBM Cloud Labs in 2014 and works closely with Pivotal Inc., to help make the Cloud Found the best PaaS.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.